GAME NAME: FEZ
DEVELOPER(S): Polytron Corporation
PUBLISHER(S): Microsoft Studios, Trapdoor, Polytron
PLATFORM(S): Xbox Live Arcade
GENRE(S): Puzzle, Adventure, Platformer
RELEASE DATE(S): 13 April 2012
It seems anything with an ‘EZ’ added to the end of any letter of the alphabet ends up being something spectacular. PEZ sweets are bizarre-looking plastic moulds with heads of iconic characters the world over attached that spit out sweets. REZ is a piece of abstract art combining music, sounds and classics shooter mechanics that saw birth on the Dreamcast and now we have FEZ – quite possibly one of the most original ideas to hit Xbox Live Arcade since its inception.
The star of this platformer is a little white being with a Fez on top of his head by the name of Gomez. At first glance nothing looks all that spectacular. It’s a 2D world made up of 8-bit sprites that looks kinda crap on your awesome HD telly. Make it past the first introduction level and our little guy gets a major surprise… and so do you.
The FEZ world goes through some kind of morphing scenario where everything receives another dimension – that third one we all love. Though the world appears in 2D in general play a press of the LT or RT trigger turns the level so that you can view it from another perspective. If you had to look at it from the top you’d see a square shape that rotates. It works very similar to Crush on the PSP and 3DS. Think of it being unique 2D stages making up one three-dimensional stage.
Your aim is to collect 32 cubes throughout the various maze-like levels which have treasures hidden behind every door you enter and new dimension you switch to. By collecting cubes you open up new areas. Switching from one side of the stage to the next not only brings with it new treasures but opens up new ways to explore this mysterious world. Is the gap to large to jump to the next platform? Press the LT and RT triggers and there is always something there to resolve your problem – it’s just that you need to constantly be aware that you have four different perspectives to view it from.
Those are the basics of FEZ. To make things more complicated you can pick up items by pressing the X button and place it on switches to activate an event or hidden entrance or pick up and throw bombs to destroy obstacles in your way. These events always involve quick reflexes when it comes to switching between the different 2D landscapes. We encountered a stage where scanning a QR code provides a button-code to solve the puzzle. There’s a lot to love about Gomez’ world. Puzzle fans will have enough to get their creative juices maxed out.
Like Another World from several years ago FEZ seems to be an ageless game that is a labour of development love. It does not try to be fancy with impressive graphics, instead it focuses on the term we all love using so loosely – gameplay. Bez you buy it.